Brian Cronin over at CBR has been doing a Top Five Most Iconic Covers for individual characters, and it’s a really great idea (read: I wish I’d thought of it first). Like most idiots with an opinion I have often been disagreeing with some of his picks, but having learned first hand how hard it is to pick a “top” anything, I’ve been keeping my mouth shut. But he featured my girl Rogue this week and I can no longer be silenced!
The list isn’t even that bad, I think in my own list (see below) I have to use three of the five he uses, however the use of that Paul Smith cover as number one is just criminal. That cover is completely a Wolvie cover, not a Rogue cover and while the actual issue marks pretty big developments for the character and her evolution, the cover does not relay that same message. Epic fail.
So here’s MY list:
5. Andy Kubert
As discussed on my Best 100 Covers post, as an adult and as an artist, I kind of hate this cover for a lot of reasons, but as a 16 year old girl, my heart literally went all ‘pitter pat’ in my chest and didn’t stop for, like, YEARS. And independent of my personal feelings, this relationship was a major part of Rogue’s 90′s storyline, and affected her character hugely both at this point in time and (for good or ill) pretty much the rest the character’s life thus far.
4. Walt Simonson
Cronin is right that this cover is iconic because of the “hope you survive the experience” homage that at this point had become classic and iconic on its own, but perhaps it’s even more iconic because in Rogue’s case it was a more accurate statement than ever before. Although, perhaps they should have changed up the meme to read, “Welcome To The X-Men Rogue…Hope The X-Men Survive The Experience” considering the fact that the entire team tries to quit on principle when Xavier lets her in.
3. John Romita Jr.
This is a great cover, and a great issue, that was a huge development in Rogue’s growth as a character. It foreshadowed great things for the character and managed to be a milestone issue for both Rogue and Storm. Neither of them would ever be the same after this issue – and that is the mark of a great comic – and this cover conveys that feeling – which is the mark of a great cover.
2. Marc Silvestri
This Genosha storyline was a big turning point for Rogue, both emotionally as she battled the unexpected side effects of losing her cursed powers; and perhaps even more importantly, it spotlighted the relationship with the Carol Danvers personality living inside of her. This was the first arc (if I recall correctly) that Rogue and Danvers agreed on an uneasy peace, if only for their combined survival. And it kicked off a fantastic ongoing storyline about their constant battle for control of Rogue’s body.
1. Jim Lee
And here’s where control of that body comes to a head, more than thirty issues later. This milestone issue featured the final and long awaited separation of Carol Danvers and Rogue with surprising results after Rogue was shot through the Siege Perilous by Dazzler (you bitch Dazzler). This issue is important both because it truly highlights how much our heroine has changed, and because as a result of this issue, there are new rules for Rogue and Danvers. They’ve been permanently separated, but Rogue has retained the powers. For good or ill this changed Rogue’s direction and is a critical arc in her evolution. It’s also gorgeous, but you guys know I’m a fan.
Ironically, I think that this cover to X-Men Classic #77…
…really proves my point about why Cronin’s pick of X-Men #173 is a real miss. The cover above, a re-imagining by Adam Hughes of the original Paul Smith X-Men #173 cover is a pretty great example of a Rogue cover…with the positions reversed like this (i.e. Rogue in front instead of back) it works as a Rogue cover, but would you ever in a million years put this on a list of most iconic Wolverine covers? No way. Now of course Wolvie has more iconic covers out there than just about any other Marvel character, but still, I’m sure you can see my point.
Just for fun here are a few of my other favorite covers featuring Rogue. I wouldn’t call them all iconic, but I would call them all awesome. It’s a little bit shocking actually, how few powerful and truly moving covers Rogue has, she’s been a fan favorite for a long time, and it’s really not evident in looking up her covers…
Despite the fact that nobody draws Rogue better than Chris Bachalo (well, maybe Lee did back in the day, and Adams, and Silvestri), there are precious few great Bachalo Rogue covers, this one stands out as one of my favorites.
Despite the silliness of those impractical heeled boots, and the silliness of the pose in general I kind of always loved this Marc Silvestri cover, but as stated earlier, maybe I was just desperate for some decent Rogue focused covers period.
A great Art Adams Rogue cover. Really more of team cover, but in my totally unbiased opinion (NOT) she steals the show here.
This John Romita Jr., cover is kind of a fake out, because if I remember the issue correctly, that’s actually Carol Danvers in control for the bulk of this issue…so Rogue, but not Rogue. But I love the retro look of this, the lasers bouncing off her body. Fun stuff.
Despite the fact that Rogue’s Age of Apocalypse costume was a total nightmare, as a team leader of her own book (in an alternate timeline/universe) she got some great face time, and even some good cover time. This one by Joe Madureira is nice.
But please don’t bring up this one. While it’s not a bad imagining of Rogue (again, Jim Lee always took pretty good care of my girl) I think we can all see what I don’t love about this. Rogue all clinging damsel in distress style to Magneto in her savage land rags while Fury and Magneto are fully clothed? Yeah, I don’t think so. I think Lee just wanted to take advantage of Rogue’s (at one time reasonable) Savage Land rag bikini a little longer…I’m sure fanboys everywhere thanked him.